FirstEnergy urges customers to save energy during extreme cold weather conditions

FirstEnergy line workers assist in the recovery after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana
FirstEnergy on Saturday asked its customers to conserve electricity through the remainder of the weekend, including on Christmas Day, due to the cold temperatures.(Lauren Siburkis/ FirstEnergy Corp.)
Published: Dec. 24, 2022 at 7:28 PM EST
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - FirstEnergy on Saturday asked its customers to conserve electricity through the remainder of the weekend, including on Christmas Day, due to the cold temperatures.

The request from the Akron-based company comes alongside of PJM Interconnection, the electric grid operator for the region, and the request will go through Dec. 25 at 10 a.m., according to a company press release.

The Dec. 24 notice comes one day after blizzard-like conditions impacted Northeast Ohio, which is leaving behind below-freezing temperatures until Wednesday.

Officials said demand for electricity is “expected to increase” through the day while the cold temperatures continue in the area.

The company’s press release also included four tips to conserve electricity use:

  • If health permits, set thermostats at a lower temperature than usual
  • Turn off non-essential appliances, equipment, and electrical lights (including holiday lights)
  • Postpone using major electric household appliances
  • Close curtains and blinds to retain warm air inside homes.

Officials said PJM will monitor conditions and would “take additional actions”, including a potential for short and rotating customer outages, if necessary.

Ohio Consumers’ Counsel spokesperson J.P. Blackwood noted the difficulty for families that have been asked to conserve energy in a statement sent to 19 News.

“With the holidays and current frigid temperatures in Ohio, this is a difficult time for Ohio families to be asked to reduce electricity usage,” Blackwood said. However, PJM (the electric grid operator) is asking consumers in the 13-state region to conserve electricity from 4 a.m. today to 10 a.m. tomorrow given increased demand due to weather. Because of PJM’s concerns for the regional electric grid, Ohioans should look for ways to conserve electricity until 10 a.m. tomorrow, if health permits. We hope everyone stays safe.”

PJM said the requested energy conservation efforts were lifted as of 9:30 a.m., according to a company press release, stating it was the first request for energy consumption efforts since the Polar Vortex of 2014.

“We also thank consumers for helping PJM get through this cold weather event by relieving the strain on the bulk electric system,” a spokesperson said in a comment.  “Thank you for helping to keep the power flowing for the 65 million people PJM serves in 13 states and Washington, D.C., for the holiday weekend.”

This is a developing story. Return to 19 News for updates.